One Blow Out at Dinos (giveaways!)

I have a confession. I don’t color my hair. I use only 3 items of make-up on a daily basis (L’oreal BB cream, Nars blush, BeneFit They’re Real mascara, if you must know). I only paint my nails occasionally. I’m far from a big spender when it comes to looking good‚Ķheck, I only get my hair cut like 3 times a year.¬† And yet, last April I got invited to an event for ONE Styling and I fell flat-out in love with their Legacy Pro hair dryer and Legacy flat iron. So when I got invited to another event just before Thanksgiving I eagerly replied “yes!”

ONE Styling tools – life changing!

This time the evening was to check out the new Legacy Lite blow dryer and celebrate the grand opening of the new Dino Palmieri Salon and Spa at Eton. There was a VIP blogger hour to show off their new blow dry bar before the salon had an open house. Dino Palmieri Salons feature ONE Styling’s blow dryers, flat irons, curing wands so I knew I was in good hands. After having some bubbly with Dino himself, I was escorted to the massaging shampoo chairs to relax.

The tools, the fabulous massaging shampoo chairs, Dino

Then my stylist turned my blah hair into stick-straight shiny locks using some Oribe Supershine Light Cream and the ONE Styling Legacy Pro dryer. That’s it. No other products were used to make my hair look like this:

¬†If you follow me on Twitter, you saw my excitement at getting a blow out. I’ve always said that if I won the lottery that one of the first things I’d do would be to set it up so I got blow-outs at least 2 times a week. I love my hair but it’s so thick that it takes forever to dry. My ONE hair dryer has helped with that but nothing beats having someone play with your hair! I will be back to Dino Palmieri at Eton before Christmas for some more pampering ($40 for the styling of your choice), because my blow out looked fantastic for three days.

When Amelia, Charlene and I headed to BSpot for some post-‘do drinks we were handed swag bags stuffed with all kinds of goodies including the new One Styling Legacy Lite blow dryer, and products from Zoya, Oribe,¬†Kerastase, and¬†Sebastian Professional. The Legacy Lite went to my sister as an early Christmas gift‚Ķshe has equally thick hair and I received an excited text from her after Thanksgiving: “I just dried my hair in less than 5 minutes!” The gift of more time in the morning is priceless.

Now, I want to share my swag with you and I have TWO gifts this time:

First is the amazing ONE Styling Verge Bubble Wand. I got one in the spring and I love it. My hair actually holds on to the curls it makes and I like that it doesn’t give me a uniform curl. There were lots of beachy waves being created with this tool at the event last week.

Second are some ZOYA nail products. Even before this event, I was a Zoya fan and though I don’t polish my nails often, Zoya is what’s in my cupboard for when I do. The winner will get the Guilty Pleasures 18K Real Gold Trio gift box and the mini Color Lock system, which has travel-sized nail polish remover, base coat, and two top coats.

Here’s how to enter (leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry):

If you want to win the ONE Styling Verge Bubble Wand – follow @ONEStyling on Twitter and/or “like” them on Facebook then come back and tell me you did and that you want to win the Bubble Wand. (one entry)

If you want to win the Zoya products – follow @zoya_nailpolish on Twitter and/or “like” them on Facebook then come back and tell me you did and that you want to win the Zoya products. (one entry)

Extra entry: Tweet the following “I want some holiday style from @onestyling @zoya_nailpolish & @kakaty!¬†http://www.kakakakaty.com/2012/11/29/one-blow-out-at-dinos-giveaways” ¬†using the tweet button below.
(You can tweet once per day, just leave a separate comment letting me know you tweeted and which prize you want.)

The giveaway will end at 11:59pm eastern on Thursday, December 6 and the winners will be announced the next day. Good luck!

A HUGE thank you to ONE Styling, Dino Palmieri, Zoya and Jayne & Company for a fabulous night!

Disclosure: I was invited by ONE Styling to attend the blogger blow dry bar event at Dino Palmieri and received a complimentary blow out, as well as a swag bag. I was not asked to blog about the product or host a giveaway but I want to share the wealth. As always, my thoughts are 100% my own.

Photos provided by the event photographer

Treat yo’self (Treat Free Code)

woot! woot! sponsored post alert!

Treat is a new card brand on the block Рowned by Shutterfly and run by the former Tiny Prints Greetings. And while I adore and use Tiny Prints for things like holiday cards, thank you notes and invitations; Treat has become my go-to for one-off cards (but! you can order multiples of a single card, too!).

Here’s what I love about Treat:

– High quality cards that you pick from the comfort of your laptop (even at 1:00 AM when you remember that your aunt’s birthday is in 3 days).

– They have designs that use photos or not – it’s up to you. And there are over 300 Hallmark-designed cards to choose from.

– You can set up all your cards at once and then Treat will send them out at the right time making you look like a rockstar. I did this in May – I sat down for an hour and set up about 27 birthday cards to go out over the next year and it’s awesome. Remember “set it and forget it”?. Yep, it’s like that but instead of a perfectly roasted chicken you get the praise of being a good friend/daughter/coworker/etc. You can even add gifts to the card by including a gift card to places like Amazon and Target.

– Treat will send the card to your recipient or to you. If you want to add a handwritten note, they’ll send it right to you and you can deliver it yourself.

– You can set up a card then edit it for several different recipients. I just did this today and several Thanksgiving cards featuring my kids will be going to the family who isn’t joining us around the table. All I had to do was update the personalization and the address. Easy peasy.

– They have an App! You can send cards right from your phone. Talk about easy!

So here’s the deal. I’ve been using and loving Treat since May. And they are running a promo right now where you can give them a try for free, too.¬†Use code¬†TREATBLOGR for¬†one free Treat card good only on Monday 11/19 & Tuesday 11/20. I know you’ve got someone in your life who would appreciate a card. What have you got to loose?

Disclosure: Treat is giving me a credit in exchange for this post. I only share products that my family  has used, so I can attest to their quality. 

No Sleep Till…

Matilda was a horrible sleeper until around age 4 and I swore the universe owed me a good sleeper. And we (mostly) had that with Madman. That is until we moved him to a toddler bed last spring. I was determined to keep in his crib until age 3 but he figured out how to climb out shortly after he turned 2 so the crib came down and the toddler bed went in. We haven’t slept since.

He goes to bed just fine, but around 4 AM he decides it’s a great time to get up and play. He doesn’t cry or demand our attention which is a nice change from Matilda’s old, clingy habits. What he does, however, was worse.¬†He quietly destroys his room.

(FYI: you can assume that most of these photos were taken between 2 and 6 AM)

Or he would gather every toy in the room and bring it into bed with him. Do you know how jarring it is to wake up at 3:27 AM to the sound of wooden blocks crashing together?

Sometimes we would actually sleep through the mayhem in the room next to ours and find him like this in the morning:

Or we’d find him asleep on the floor somewhere which I don’t mind. Except for when he falls asleep right behind his door and we can’t open it without hitting him.

It got to the point that even with naps, I would always go into his room with my camera ready because I’d never know where I would find him.

Most of these issues we’ve solved by putting his dresser, toys and books into his closet where he can’t get them. He still gets up daily around 4 AM, but Mark can usually get him to fall back to sleep for a couple of hours. But he’s always been an early riser and we know that we can’t just let him play alone or he’ll cause a major mess (he picks at his diaper through his PJs and will shred it, polymer balls everywhere! such fun!). So when Madman is up, one of us is up – no matter how early.¬†That doesn’t mean I’ve stopped going into his room with my camera ready to go. You just never know when you’ll find a swashbuckling¬†cowboy at 6:45 AM.

 

Strong Silent Type

I feel like I don’t give the Madman his proper due here on the blog; poor, neglected second-born that he is. As the third child I always swore I wouldn’t let my kids experience different treatment…that they would have equal billing in baby books and beyond. I’ve told you about old boxes of slides with my name spelled wrong, right? Yep…one of my parents (I won’t out the guilty party) spelled my name wrong nearly a year after I was born. Pretty good reason for me to try harder, right?

But, I haven’t. I must say that I didn’t even make a baby book for Matilda until she was 3. But then I did her first three years in beautiful oversized photo albums and never even attempted to start another. Perhaps Madman will get a baby book for his 3rd birthday but the truth is I didn’t document his first year as well as I did Matilda’s and I’ll have to cobble together his 1st year via this blog and my twitter archive.

Bieber hair

But this boy of mine, oh he has my entire heart. He’s tall for his age with a strong, athletic build. I let his blond hair get shaggy because I can’t get enough of it, but once it gets too far into Beiber-territory we get it chopped. He refuses to stand still for even a second so getting a photo is nearly impossible. But beleive me when I tell you I could right volumnes about this kid’s smile, his laugh and don’t even get me started on his dimples.

Dimple!

At 2 years and almost 7 months he’s finally just starting to talk with some clarity, which, to be honest, if he were my first I would have had him in and out of specialist offices by now. But he communicates well without a full grasp of language and gets along just fine so I’m trusting myself (and our pediatrician) that he’ll figure it out sooner or later. It does get him frustrated sometimes but if you don’t understand him he’ll just grab your hand and drag you to what he wants and makes you understand.

His favorite thing in life is his big sister. The two of them are pretty great together, and Madman wants nothing more than to be doing whatever Matilda is doing. His fearless nature coupled with his desire to do exactly what she’s doing has led to some¬†harrowing experiences.

Madman is the one who is teaching us all to slow down to look at the bugs and dig in the dirt. He’s showing us to just go with the flow (especially if that flow includes wearing costumes in public) and to just laugh because laughing is fun. I just love this kid so damn much.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year (+ Tiny Prints Giveaway!)

Whoop! Whoop! Sponsored post alert! 

UPDATE! Congratulations to commenter #10, Elisa! You should be getting an email with your prize code!

Yep! I’m talking holiday cards. I love picking them out every year. I love trying to get them in the mail on December 1 – it just feels like the start of the Christmas season to me. Sometimes I make my deadline, sometimes I don’t, but I always love the process of selecting our cards, the photos and the message. Of course, doing this in the year 2012 is much easier and WAY more fun than it was in 2000 when my designer husband was forced to make us unique cards every year. Now you have your choice of custom cards, but there is one company that I prefer because their quality stands out. So, over the past week I’ve been distracting myself from the election & post-election nonsense by browsing the holiday cards at Tiny Prints.

I love their range of styles and messages. They have clever ways to disguise a “holiday letter” as a pretty card which I adore. Yes, I’m one of those people who actually likes to get brag letters (as long as they don’t include your kid’s IQ score), so doing it in the card itself appeals to me. Here are a few of the designs I’m considering:

I love a good chevron [modern chevron]

I really like the simplicity of this one but it may be to Christmasy for me [blissful border]

I love how the try-fold cards make a “brag letter” more bearable! [woodland greetings]

the storyline is a good way to do a holiday update letter, too!

I’m sure I’ll do my typical thing and make up 3 or 4 designs then make my graphic designer husband pick the best.

Are you ready to get started on your cards yet? Tiny Prints is offering a giveaway for one of my readers: $50 off any Tiny Prints order (excludes shipping, cannot be combined with other promos, expires 12/14/12). To enter, leave a comment here by midnight EST Monday night, 11/12/12 and I’ll pick a winner at random.

Whether you win the giveaway or not Tiny Prints has some great special offers right now. When do you start on your cards? Are you for or against the holiday letter? Photos: just the kids or do you get in the picture too? Tell me your card strategy!

Disclosure: Tiny Prints is giving me a credit toward my holiday card order and providing a giveaway for my readers in exchange for this post. I only share products that my family  has used, so I can attest to their quality. 

Kindergarten

This past August my oldest started Kindergarten and we were thrown into the realm of having a “school-aged child”. It’s no secret that due to her late birthday – 7 days before cut off in our district – that we struggled with the decision of when she would start. In the end, we elected to wait a year and, oh‚Ķthat was so the right decision for our Matilda. She is far from the oldest in her class (there are several kids 3-4 months older) and she really needed last year to work out some of her anxiety.

Because of that anxiety we spent a lot of time with school staff over the summer (has an a IEP) working out the best environment for her. We visited her classroom a couple of times and she had some one on one time with her teacher in the weeks leading up to the first day.

First official 1st day of school photo 

She was “really excited and a little nervous” on her first day (well, half-day ‚Ķthey have a short 3-day week of half days when K starts. It’s a total PITA for parents).

A bit hesitant now that she’s at school with the other kids

She walked to school with her daddy and I met them there (I had to leave quickly for work). She walked in ready to conquer the world.

She’s got this!

I’m so incredibly grateful for our amazing school system. We actively picked a strong public school district with lots of support and resources when we moved to Cleveland and all those taxes are starting to pay off. I’m happy to say, after 2 months, that she is doing splendidly in school. She loves school days (recess and lunch are her favorites) and is growing in ways I never imagined. She picks up on new things quickly and is eager to share about her day. Thankfully, her anxiety is starting to lessen and, thanks to the support at school, she’s learning to cope with changes much better.

Bonus: another new kindergartner moved onto to street just a few days before school started. They’ve become fast friends. ¬†

 

 

Halloween 2012

So! OhMommy left and apparently she took my will to blog with her to Chicago. Back in July. Oof. It’s been awhile, eh? No real reason‚Ķ I’ve got 59.7 blog posts formulated in my head but I never found the time to commit them to paper (screen?). I’ve lot’s to catch up on‚Ķlittle stuff like my oldest starting kindergarten, you know, NBD. But, let’s ease back into this with a photo heavy post, shall we? (if you follow me on twitter/instagram you’ve seen them all, sorry!)

Thanks to the frankenstorm that gave us hurricane-style 70mph winds and waves on a Great Lake of 20 feet, our neighborhood’s trick-or-treat was postponed until yesterday. Let’s not even talk about how fast a post-vacation high can be harshed by losing power for 3 days and having roof/chimney damage that leads to plaster/fireplace/mantel damage.

Tip: a waterproof crib topper under your leak buckets will help to protect your floors (something I wish I didn’t have to learn)

Huge shout out to Emily for opening her home to us while she traveled for work. We had warm beds, hot showers and homemade meals in her adorable house rather than suffering at our 45-degree house. Thanks, Em! (and to Emily’s mom!)

The story of how we got these pumpkins to come. This photo is pre-storm when they were freshly cut. Last night they were 75% moldy goo.

Back to the point‚Ķ 2012: the year Halloween was in November. Matilda knew she wanted to be an equestrian since probably last Christmas. Since she’s been taking riding lessons anyway she had most of the gear. I did finally give in and bought her a (deeply discounted) real riding coat after I looked for a boys jacket at a few thrift stores with no luck. She also scored real leather riding gloves out of the deal which I justified with the fact that she actually uses them at her lessons. She looked pretty darn cute, even with 2 layers of long johns under her costume.

And lord help the person who called her a horse rider‚Ķ she would correct you with a quick “I’m an equestrian!”

Madman, my sweet opinionated 2.5 year old, was a monkey. Stuffed into the same size 24 month costume his sister wore just a month after she turned 2. I want to make clear that I didn’t not force this costume on him. He had a choice between a bee (which would have fit him much better) and this monkey (which I didn’t realize was so small until after I showed it to him) and he picked the monkey.¬†Luckily, the coat fit him fine, but the pants were about 5 inches too short so the little feet were just below his knees.

Of course, since I can’t help myself when it comes to making these comparisons, I dug up photos from Halloween 2008 to see my two monkeys side-by-side.

Much to Matilda’s delight, Mark decided to dress up at the last minute by donning his Army fatigues. Let’s pause for a moment ¬†and consider that these were issued to him when he was 18 years old and he still fits into them.

And, even though these really have nothing to do with Halloween, I have to post these photos to show how delightfully weird my kids are right now. Matilda is so into horses that EVERYTHING is about horses. Everything. Her scooter is really a horse named Scarlet and yesterday she found a snow brush which she then used to groom her “horse” for about 20 minutes. She even picked over the horseshoes like a proper equestrian would.

As for Madman, he’s at the age that it’s just a heck of a lot easier to give into his demands to wear what he wants than to fight him. This is why he’s frequently seen out and about in costume:

A walk to the neighbor’s house requires his sister’s riding helmet.

The man of steel enjoys pancakes for breakfast.

Buzz prefers to shop Trader Joe’s in the early morning on Saturdays.

I think I may have my blog mojo back… hopefully there will be more updates soon!